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Zac Haugland (58) was the Panthers' No. 2 runner at Wednesday's Mid-State Conference meet. (Vance Carlson / Enterprise)

Panthers win Mid-State title

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Panthers win Mid-State title
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In four meets this season, the Park Rapids girls cross-country team finished ahead of Staples-Motley all four times.

Finishing ahead of the Cardinals at Wednesday's Mid-State Conference meet at Park Rapids' Headwaters Country Club was by far the sweetest so far this season for the Panthers.


The Panthers not only ended Staples-Motley's 10-year reign as the conference champion, they captured only their second Mid-State Conference girls cross-country title in school history. The only other time Park Rapids won the conference title was in 1993.

Having four runners earn all-conference honors by placing in the top 10 spots and having five runners finish in the top 15 spots led the Panthers to the title with 31 points. Staples-Motley was second with 45 points.

In the boys meet, Detroit Lakes won its first conference title since 1995 by compiling 31 points. Staples-Motley was second with 42 points while Park Rapids finished sixth with 151 points.

All five of Park Rapids' runners finished ahead of their Staples-Motley counterparts to give the Panthers their first girls cross country conference title in 16 years.

Lydia Lutz set the pace by covering the 4,000-meter course in 14 minutes, 43 seconds. Victoria Lutz was second in 14:55, Morgan Olson finished fifth in 15:23 and Summer Ellefson was 10th in 15:44 as the Panthers had four all-conference runners. Kaylee Hilmanowski completed the Panthers' team score by placing 15th in 16:07. Tiffany Deitchler was next in 16:10 and Sophie Shogren finished 27th in 16:53..

In the boys meet, Taylor Kimball led the Panthers by placing 19th in 17:58. Rounding out Park Rapids' team score were Zac Haugland (30th in 19:10), Sam Goebel (33rd in 19:32), Jared Storseth (34th in 19:58) and Jake Waggoner (35th in 20:01). Matt Sullivan (38th in 20:44) and Kevin Merfeld (39th in 21:41) rounded out Park Rapids' varsity squad.

Detroit Lakes' Leif Johnson led the way by covering the 5,000-meter course in 16:18.

Allie Bade took first in 16:38 and Chelsea Johnson finished fifth in 17:13 to lead the Panthers in the girls junior varsity race. Ryan McBrady (19th in 20:20) and Ben Kading (29th in 24:13) competed in the boys junior varsity race. Isaac Overmyer won the 3,200-meter junior high boys race in 11:53 while Crysta Berens won the junior high girls race in 14:47.

The Panthers will host their annual invitational meet Monday at Headwaters Country Club before preparing for the Section 8A meet at Bagley on Oct. 30.

Girls team scores: Park Rapids 31, Staples-Motley 45, Pequot Lakes 82, Crosby-Ironton 90, Detroit Lakes 91, Wadena-Deer Creek incomplete.